Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Posted by Shazy on Sunday, March 20, 2011

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
Northwest Washington's Skagit Valley comes alive with brilliant color each spring. Acres and acres of daffodils, tulips, irises, and lilies entice visitors to the towns of La Conner and Mount Vernon. They come to take in the pastoral beauty, and to enjoy the annual festivities. The flower-viewing season begins with dainty yellow daffodils in mid- to late-March; a rainbow of tulips takes the stage in April. Irises and lilies follow, providing color well into the month of May.

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival celebrates this annual burst of spring color. Mother Nature decides exactly when the festival begins, with special events scheduled throughout the month of April. These events include:

* Tulip Festival Street Fair in Downtown Mount Vernon
* Kiwanas Club Salmon BBQ
* Art Shows
* Wine Tastings
* Anacortes Quilt Walk
* Tulip Run and Tulip Pedal events
* Chili, Chowdah' & Chocolate Cookoff

While spring is clearly a popular time to visit, Skagit Valley is a great getaway all year round. The fertile valley and water views inspire many artists, giving rise to a number of shops and galleries. Located only an hour north of Seattle, the rural panoramas provide a convenient and relaxing escape from city life.

The fields of flowers are grown in order to produce bulbs - a major industry in the Skagit Valley. In addition to viewing and photographing the fields, Skagit Valley Tulip Festival visitors will enjoy exploring a number of different display gardens and garden centers in order to learn about bulb gardening and purchase bulbs of their own. These include:

Tulip Town: Skagit Valley Bulb Farm
15002 Bradshaw Road, Mount Vernon
Tulip Town offers indoor tulips displays and outdoor display gardens as well as acres of fields that feature an amazing variety of tulips. Tulip Town is a very popular spot to visit, and justifiably so. Not only can you walk around a sea of blooming tulips (in season), you can also take advantage of their gift and bulb shops and snack bars. Their picturesque windmill adds to the photo-taking options. During April, visitors to Tulip Town can also enjoy a wonderful display of kites from professional kite flyers.

Roozengaarde (
15867 Beaver Marsh Road, Mount Vernon
Stroll through the Roozengaarde show gardens and select which bulbs you want to order for your own yard. Take a family picture at their picturesque windmill or among the blooming tulip maze. Wander among their acres of tulips, with rows featuring most colors of the rainbow. While at Roozengaarde, pick up a bunch of fresh-cut tulips or order the bulbs for your favorite variety. During tulip-festival time, a flower tent, picnic shelter, and food vendors are available. The Roozengaarde retail shop sells home and garden items and official Skagit Valley Tulip Festival posters and merchandise, and is open year round.

WSU Discovery Garden
16650 State Route 536, Mount Vernon
Gardeners will enjoy visiting the Discovery Garden at the Washington State University Northwestern Washington Research & Extension Center. Open to the public year-round, the display gardens are designed and maintained by volunteer organizations such as the Master Gardener's Discovery Garden, Skagit Valley Rose Society, and the Western Washington Fruit Research Foundation. Almost 30 different types of gardens are represented, including a native plant garden, a shade garden, a water wise garden, a rose garden, a rhody garden, and a fuchsia garden.
Options for viewing the fields include driving, walking, biking, and tour buses or shuttles. Most of the flower fields are found on the west side of Interstate 5, between Fir Island Road (exit 221) and Josh Wilson Road (exit 231). During peak viewing time the roads through the blooming fields can become quite congested, particularly on weekends.

Some options to driving your own vehicle:

* Tulip Country Bike Tours
These guided bike tours include your bike, a helmet, a garden tour, lunch, and stops at great tulip-viewing spots.
* Victoria Clipper
Package excursion includes private ferry service on the Victoria Clipper from Seattle's Pier 69 to La Conner, and a motor coach tour of the tulip fields and bulb farms, with stops at two fields. Bus-only option is also available.

Check out the official Skagit Valley Tulip Festival web site for the most current list of tours and transportation available.
While spring is clearly the most popular time for a visit, Skagit Valley is a great getaway all year round. The fertile valley and water views inspire many artists, giving rise to a number of shops and galleries. Located only an hour north of Seattle, the rural panoramas provide a convenient and relaxing escape from city life.

La Conner Quilt Museum
Housed in the historic Gaches Mansion, this museum showcases quilts from around the world and from local artists.

Skagit County Historical Museum
In addition to changing special exhibitions, the Skagit County Historical Museum's collection covers the region's Native peoples, local industry, and the pioneer and homestead eras. The museum sits on a hill; be sure to step out onto the museum's viewing deck to enjoy panoramic views of Skagit Valley's farms, fields, and surrounding mountains.

Museum of Northwest Art
The works of the Pacific Northwest's leading artists are exhibited at this La Conner museum. Glass art, sculpture, and paintings are all featured, with works by artists such as Morris Graves and Dale Chihuly. You will enjoy the opportunity to purchase Northwest art books, gift items, and jewelry at MoNA's store.

Skagit Valley Casino Resort
Located in Bow, this Northwest-style casino resort offers Las Vegas-style gambling, live entertainment, a lounge, a hotel, an indoor pool, meeting space, and fine and casual dining.
Bird Watching in Skagit Valley
The dormant fields, river, and marine environment of the Skagit Valley offer abundant opportunity to watch and photograph birds, including trumpeter swans, snow geese, owls, and eagles.

* Skagit Eagle Festival
* Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
* Skagit Audubon Society

Sight-seeing Cruises & Rafting in Skagit Valley
Travel the waters to view whales and wildlife, the San Juan Islands, and the natural beauty of the Puget Sound.

* Deception Pass Tours
* Mystic Sea Charters
* Skagit River Raft Trips from Alpine Adventures
* Pacific NW Float Trips

A Skagit Valley weekend getaway often includes eating fresh regional foods and strolling through local galleries and boutiques. Here is a sample of what you'll find.

The Wood Merchant
This wonderful shop specializes in fine wooodworking, including furniture and gift items.

Bunnies by the Bay
Adorable baby clothes, plush critters, and other toys and gift items for all ages.

Two Moons Gallery & Gifts
This wonderful La Conner shop features fine crafted items that will add a unique element to your home decor.
Here are my recommendations for places to eat in Washington's Skagit Valley.

Farmhouse Restaurant
13724 LaConner Whitney Rd, Mount Vernon
Homestyle foods to warm you up on a chilly day, including roast turkey dinners and their famous lemon meringue pie.

Skagit River Brewing Company
404 S. 3rd Street, Mount Vernon
House-brewed beer and root beer, Northwest pub food, and wood-fired pizzas are the specialty at this unassuming gem.

LaConner Seafood & Prime Rib House
614 S. First St., La Conner
Enjoy waterfront dining in their lovely dining room, or take advantage of their banquet facilities.

Nell Thorn Restaurant and Pub
205 Washington St., La Conner
Foodies will relish their gourmet food that features fresh local ingredients.

Seeds Bistro and Bar
623 Morris Street, La Conner
Another excellent eatery that specializes in meals created from local produce, dairy, chicken, and beef.
The Skagit Valley is a popular year-round getaway and offers a wide selection of bed and breakfasts, country inns, rentals, and other types of lodging. Here are a few options.

Queen of the Valley Inn
The Queen of the Valley is a gracious farmhouse bed and breakfast in the town of La Conner. Enjoy breakfast on the sun porch, or an evening of comfortable conversation in the inn's common areas.

The Wild Iris
This twelve-room inn features Jacuzzi spas in every room, some on private decks, others by the fireplace. The Wild Iris also offers a well-equipped conference room, making it a great place for a group meeting or corporate retreat.

Hampton Inn & Suites
Located in Burlington, this Hampton Inn & Suites provides modern, spacious rooms where you can relax and recharge after a day of work or play.

Best Western Cotton Tree Inn
Located in Mt. Vernon, this chain hotel an outdoor pool, fitness center, restaurant, and meeting facilities.

Skagit Valley Casino Resort
This full-service casino resort offers a hotel, gambling, live entertainment, a lounge, a buffet, and fine dining. The Skagit Valley Casino Resort is located in right off of I-5 in Bow.

La Conner Channel Lodge
This waterfront lodge overlooks the Swinomish Channel and is convenient to La Conner's charming shopping district. Most rooms have a patio or balcony where you can relax and enjoy the water view.
The Skagit Valley can be reached by driving, by ferry, by air, or by motorcoach. Amtrak makes scheduled stops in Mount Vernon.

Skagit Valley is located along Interstate 5, approximately 50 miles north of Seattle.

By Ferry:

Washington State Ferries

* Anacortes/San Juan Island Ferry
* Anacortes/Sidney B.C. Ferry

Other Ferries

* Victoria Clipper

By Air:

* Skagit Regional Airport
* Island Air

By Motorcoach:

* Gray Line of Seattle

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